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No stains, no cracks, no warping: How to properly clean a wooden chopping board

First up, step away from the dishwasher, says Laura de Barra.
Oct 12th 2020, 5:37 PM 2,421 0

LAURA DE BARRA regularly brings her lifestyle and home maintenance masterclasses to the Glenveagh Home Magazine on TheJournal.ie. This week, how to clean your wooden chopping board and extend its lifetime.

WOODEN CHOPPING BOARDS are far superior to other options out there, if you ask me. They can take heat well, unlike plastic boards, and won’t melt if a hot dish is rested on them. Plus, they won’t blunt your good knives as glass would do.

But they’re often overlooked when it comes to care and cleaning, getting a wipe down with warm water at best. The correct care and proper cleaning is not only essential for killing bacteria, but it will also prolong the life of your board. Here’s my how-to guide…

1. Cleaning after cutting veg or bread

Cleaning your board properly after use is extremely important – but definitely don’t put wooden chopping boards in the dishwasher. The drenching and heat combo they will be subjected to will warp and crack them. Instead, stick to handwashing.

Make sure the water is HOT. This will help kill bacteria. You want to make sure that you are getting to any dirt, any meat juice, any invisible bacteria, so scrub well with washing up liquid. I like to use a non-scratch scourer and pay particular attention to any grooves, scratches or knife marks.

2. Cleaning after prepping raw meat

It has been proven that a kitchen chopping board can have more bacteria on it than a toilet seat. Shudder.  If you have cut raw meat on the board, you should go the extra measure after washing in step 1, and make sure the bacteria is completely gone.

An anti bacterial kitchen spray will do the job, but I prefer to a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. Soak the board in this mix for 1.5 to 2 minutes (never longer, or it will warp) This will get to any bacteria you have missed.

Don’t dry your boards with your tea towel. This could spread bacteria. Instead, air dry them standing up, never flat. Or instead, use a kitchen paper towel and dispose.

3. Cleaning heavy food stains

If you have a lot of staining or your board looks like it needs a refresh, there are some great natural cleaners you can use. First off, if the staining is from turmeric, beetroot or any other dye stain, you can use bicarbonate of soda. Simply mix the bicarb with water until you have a thick paste. Rub all over the board, paying attention to the staining. Its alkaline qualities will help remove the staining and also clean the board.

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Another great method is to cover the board with salt. Using a lemon or lime cut in half, rub the fleshy side in circular motions all over the board. This is like exfoliating the board. It will get into grooves and nicks and clean the whole surface area thoroughly. Once done, just wash as in step 1 and dry.

4. A monthly maintenance treatment

After you have deep cleaned, you should oil the board once a month to extend its life. Not just any oil however – make sure it’s a foodsafe oil that is specifically for chopping boards. Follow the instructions carefully.

Want more tips and hacks? Laura de Barra’s debut book, Gaff Goddess: Simple Tips And Tricks To Help You Run Your Home is on shelves now, published by Transworld Ireland. Buy it here or in all good bookshops, and follow Laura on Instagram for even more cleaning and lifestyle tips.

More: How to load a dishwasher properly… according to someone who actually knows>

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Laura de Barra

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